Saturday, November 19, 2011

The worst voice over audition of all time?

I recently posted a project on one of those pay to play websites the doesn't really cater specifically to VO work. I received 11 auditions. In the project specs I asked all bidders to record a short paragraph from the actual script I had attached, read by a native English speaker. Only a few sent in the requested demo. The rest just submitted their standard demo 'reel', except for one bidder, from Romania, who sent in the most unbelievable audition demo I had ever heard. His bid was ridiculously low, then I played his demo and found out why.

I was totally blown away. I was expecting to hear a Romanian accent but instead, this bidder actually sent in a recording of a 'text to voice' synthesizer program that had amazing quality! The first few words sounded very good. Then it became obvious that it was a synthesized voice. Oh, the advent of new digital technology!

But, that got me thinking..."How much longer will it be before that program can be improved to a point where it perfectly replicates or emulates the human voice?"  Will that signal the end of VO's as we know it? Will people soon be able to enter text into a program and output a totally believable sounding voice over in a style of their choosing?  The VO industry has taken SO many hits in the past decade. Will this inevitably be the final blow to VO?

To finish belaboring this point, have you seen the quality of the CGI avatars in the latest video games and on-line virtual worlds lately?  They have made them almost totally photo realistic. How long until they perfect the appearance of a real person with realistic facial movement and then to couple that with the perfectly emulated voice of your choice? Will that be the end of not only off screen VO but, on screen as well? 

If these trends continue...where will our true online 'human' interaction emanate from in the future? Will we even feel the need to speak to each other one day? Will we eventually choose an avatar and a digital voice that will from then on be representative of our on line persona and be reduced to simply using just the written word, digitally transformed, as our newly preferred form of web discourse? 

That concept kinda freaks me out but, I did read "Future Shock" so, I am prepared for things advancing quicker than I can process them but, I will always adapt to the world around me.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Voxominous - Professional Voiceover Services

Voxominous - Professional Voiceover Services

Offering my voice services as a freelance entrepreneur was the best move I ever made. My nearly 20 years in the media gave me most of the tools I needed to accomplish this. I just had to buy the equipment to outfit my home studio. I even have a portable studio so, I can travel and still get my VO's done from anywhere in the world.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Voice overs in the time before the digital age

I have started this blog to share my experiences in radio and the voice over business. Hi my name is Greg Whaley. I started in radio back in the '90's. I was the over night guy at a rock station in West Palm Beach for nearly 10 years. Those were a lot of long lonely hours working that late every night. But, I also got to host remote broadcasts on the weekends at night clubs and beach resorts while promoting the station and partying for free. I got to meet nearly ever rock star I ever listened too, replete with limo rides, back stage passes and front row seats. It was a pretty cool life. Here are just a couple of pics below.

             Me & Edgar Winter                                                                 Me & Sam Kinison

   Me & Brian Howe From Bad Company                                      The radio gang with Tesla


But, every morning when I got off the air at 6am, my in box would have 2 or 3 scripts that needed to be turned into commercials by me, fully produced, with the fastest turnaround. We had a good production director but, occasionally he wrote some really poorly worded scripts. I would try really hard to voice his words but, sometimes it just didn't work. I would have to re-write it. It was a huge struggle until, I finally became the production director. I was now the one sitting side by side with the client helping to create a conceptual branding for their product or service in a way that would resonate with our listeners. And now, I was the one writing the scripts. I soon realized that it is difficult to write scripts for certain products or services.Writing commercial copy scripts became a skill I crafted into an art during that decade, having written and voiced thousands of them. This was before the digital age and all recording and editing was still done on real to real tape with a razor blade! Then transferred over to a multi-track tape recorder to add music and sound effects if needed. Then once the sound levels were adjusted, the finished spot was then transferred on to a 'cart' that looked just like an old 8-track tape which was labeled and was now ready for air. Just an idea how far we have come in just a few years. Whew!...what a hassle, huh?